Zoltán Téglás - Hero of the Week | The Jackal

4 Feb 2013

Zoltán Téglás - Hero of the Week

On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported:

The shuttered Hump restaurant in Santa Monica and two of its sushi chefs have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including selling sei whale meat, an announcement from the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles says.

Typhoon Restaurant Inc., the parent company of the Hump, and Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda were named in the nine-count indictment. Other charges include conspiracy to import and sell meat from the endangered sei whale and lying to federal investigators.

Its pretty disgusting that this kind of thing is still allowed to occur in the Western world at all, especially because the Whale meat would have gone through a number of procedures to end up on people's dinner plates.

First there's the illegal catching of the Sei Whales by an undisclosed source, then there was processing in another country and then there was the United State's customs that should have raised flags. Instead it has been left to activists to ensure that the law is upheld.

The Hump closed in 2010 after an associate producer of the documentary "The Cove," which investigated the killing of dolphins in Japan, orchestrated a video sting. The Times reported that two participating activists asked if they could order whale meat as part of an omakase meal and a waitress served eight pieces, according to a federal affidavit. DNA tests confirmed the meat came from a sei whale, which is protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It's illegal to sell any kind of whale meat in the U.S.

Strangely the LA Times' article doesn't make mention of the main activist group who started the investigation into the Hump restaurant. The most excellent organisation Sea Shepherd was instrumental in bringing the Whale meat criminals to justice, and for that they should be commended.

Sea Shepherd reported:

Back in 2010, Sea Shepherd activist, pelican rescuer and lead singer for Pennywise Zoli Teglas discovered that the Hump Restaurant in Santa Monica was serving whale meat to special customers.

Sea Shepherd responded with an investigation and sent in undercover activists to gain the trust of the sushi restaurant until they were able to become special customers.

Whale sushi was ordered and pieces of the whale were placed in plastic bags for DNA analysis. The tests proved positive for the meat being from Sei whales.

With this evidence, Sea Shepherd brought in Louie Psihoyos and his crew from Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), the producers of the film, "The Cove."

Sea Shepherd and OPS worked with the United States government to send activists back into the Hump wired with mics to secure further evidence.

This evidence led to the closing down of the Hump Restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport.

If convicted, Yamamoto faces up to 67 years in prison, and Ueda faces a maximum 10-year term. Typhoon would face fines totaling $1.2 million.

What an excellent result that will hopefully make other restaurant owner's think twice about serving endangered species. It's also a result that was directly attributable to the initial investigation by Sea Shephard activists.

By reducing the demand for Whale meat, activist's like Zoltán Téglá ensure less Sei Whales will be killed in what is a mindless and disgusting slaughter. The singer for the supergroup Pennywise is therefore this week's Hero... Well done that man.